The College of Law is gearing up for a busy National Pro Bono Week as the law school celebrates a decade of running award-winning pro bono programmes.
Activities organised by the College to mark the annual event, which runs from November 8 – 13, include staging a mock criminal trial at a London school, serving breakfast to the homeless at a day centre, running employment rights advice clinics and hosting the LawWorks Student Pro Bono Conference 2010.
Ten years after the College first started its pro bono work it is now recognised by the Global Alliance for Justice Education as the largest law school pro bono programme in the world.
Pro bono coordinator for the College, Prof Sara Chandler, said: “At the heart of the College’s commitment to pro bono is the recognition that many people go without access to justice, and that we are in a key position to be able to influence the way that junior lawyers are trained and inducted into the profession.
“Our programmes not only offer an incredibly valuable free service to the public but also the space for students to practise their skills under the close supervision of qualified lawyers, who are committed to providing the best possible clinical education and the highest standards of service to the public.”
National Pro Bono Week comprises nationwide events to celebrate the range of pro bono activities undertaken by solicitors, barristers, legal executives and law students, which provide legal advice to people otherwise unable to afford it.
On Wednesday, November 10 students from the College’s London Moorgate branch will be serving breakfast at the Dellow Day Centre for homeless people as part of their induction at the East London centre’s legal advice clinic. The clinic is run by the College in partnership with law firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Reed Smith.
Students undertaking the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at the College’s London Bloomsbury centre will bring the criminal justice system to life on Thursday, November 11 by staging a mock grievous bodily harm trial at Thomas Tallis School in Blackheath, London. A-Level law students will act out all the different roles in the trial, coached by College of Law students.
The event is part of the College’s year-round Streetlaw programme, which involves students working directly with schools, community groups and prisons to raise awareness about different areas of law.
On Wednesday and Thursday the College’s Guildford and Birmingham centres will be holding their regular employment rights advice clinics for people with employment problems.
The Birmingham Employment Rights Advice Line (BERAL), the Birmingham Employment Advice Clinic (BEAC) and the Guildford Employment Rights Advice Line Direct (GERALD) are staffed by fully-qualified employment lawyers supported by College students.
Disability discrimination in the workplace will be the subject of a presentation given byGDL students from the College’s Manchester centre on the final day of National Pro Bono Week, Saturday, November 13. The presentation will take place at the AGM in Manchester of the Dystonia Society, a UK-wide charity providing support, advice and information for anyone affected by the neurological movement disorder known as dystonia.
Rounding up the week is the LawWorks Student Pro Bono Conference 2010, which this year is being hosted by The College of Law in Birmingham. The conference will include workshops on setting up legal advice clinics and developing pro bono and Streetlaw programmes and the keynote speaker will be pro bono champion Lord Phillips of Sudbury.